Volunteer Naturalist--Audubon Nature Institute

  • New Orleans, LA, US

Apply online at our website: http:audubonnatureinstitute.org/adult-naturalists

Position Title:Volunteer Naturalists

Department:Volunteer and Intern Resources

Reports To: Naturalist Program Coordinator

Location:Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

General Summary:

Volunteer Naturalists are informal educators who interpret our animals and educational resources, such as biofacts, and share their passion for our animals, for conservation and for the natural world. As such, Naturalists play a critical role in achieving the educational goals of Audubon as well as driving customer satisfaction and ensuring that our guests have amazing experiences. As the world's largest family of facilities dedicated to nature, Audubon sees millions of guests each year, and it would be impossible to touch the hearts and minds of so many guests without the assistance of our Volunteer Naturalists.

The Volunteer Naturalist program is also a great way to build skills and gain experience in the informal education, hospitality, theme attraction, and customer service fields. It is also a stepping stone to get into advanced volunteer placements such as husbandry placements and Aquarium diving.

To deliver on the Audubon mission, the Naturalist will:

Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality.

  • Proactively welcome customers to exhibit spaces
  • Provide factually accurate interpretation of our exhibits, animals and education resources
  • Address customer satisfaction challenges
  • Encourage guests to take the customer feedback survey
  • Encourage guests to visit again soon

Weave quality entertainment through the guest experience.

  • Share personal experiences of our amazing collection animals with our guests
  • Encourage guests to visit scheduled chats and feeds
  • Recommend other facilities in the Audubon family
  • Recommend conservation organizations and initiatives in line with Audubon's values

The above listed duties are general statements of required major duties and responsibilities performed on a regular and continuous basis. They do not exclude other duties that may be requested by the supervisor.

To deliver on the Audubon service promise, the Naturalist will:


  • Make eye contact with every customer encounter, smile at every person, offer friendly phrases and greetings.
  • Wear identification nametag.
  • Walk individual to destination instead of pointing; offer assistance to people who look confused.
  • Assume ownership of potential safety hazards (wipe-up spill, pick up trash).
  • Always have the Audubon camera-ready look.


  • Maintain positive attitude, pleasant tone of voice (remember it is not what you say, but how you say it).
  • Coordinate with coworkers within service expectations.
  • Utilize the power of teamwork to give excellent service.
  • Know when to involve management.


  • Know the answers to questions or seek out the answers.
  • Share favorite personal experiences with our collection animals.
  • Share personal passion for conservation and the natural world.
  • Share positive and practical conservation messaging that encourages guests to get involved in their own lives.
  • Keep unpleasant concerns behind closed doors (vent backstage).
  • Recommend exhibits and attractions to guests based on personal experiences.
  • Encourage guests to celebrate the wonders of nature.

Experience: 1+ year of experience in customer service or education is preferred.

Education: High school diploma or equivalency is preferred.

Machinery/Tools/Equipment Requirements: Must have the ability to use mobile devices, computer, handheld radios, and phones.

Physical Requirements:

  1. Medium Work: Medium work involves lifting no more than 50 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 25 pounds.
  2. Sitting or standing, bending, stooping, and the ability to carry items weighing up to 25 pounds.
  3. Constant adequate range of motion and mobility required.
  4. Regular near acuity with clarity of vision at 20 inches or less required.
  5. Typical ability to collect and analyze numerical and written data and verbal information to reach logical conclusions and ability to determine the time, place and sequence of operations or actions required.
  6. Regular talking and the ability to express and exchange ideas by means of language expected.
  7. Regular hearing and the ability to perceive the nature of sounds.
  8. Constant ability to read, record, or type data quickly and accurately required.

Environmental/Working Conditions:

  1. Ability to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner required.
  2. Constant contact with co-workers required.
  3. Affinity for animals required.
  4. Exposure to fluctuations in temperatures may be required.
  5. Exposure to outdoor conditions may be required.

Audubon Nature Institute Audubon Nature Institute logo

  • 6500 Magazine St.
    New Orleans, LA, US
    See Map
  • Duration:

    3 months or longer
  • Time commitment:

    Occasional (weekly or monthly)
  • Times of day:

    Mornings Afternoons
  • Days of week:

    Weekdays Weekends
  • Schedule:

    Flexible schedule
  • Extra details:

    Training provided
  • International volunteer options:

    International volunteers welcome

Audubon Nature Institute Audubon Nature Institute logo

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